Sunday, April 27, 2014

Happy 14th birthday Elizabeth

Today our baby girl turns fourteen, she is heading to high school next year and it hardly seems possible that she will be 18 in four years. The past year has been a difficult year for her, moving away from California and her friends was a test of strength and faith.

E with her younger cousin Peyton

Elizabeth and her pal Oscar

She spent a lot of time very sad, sad she wasn't making friends in TN and sad her friends in California were far away.. We had a lot of tears, prayers and deep talks. I am so proud of her for overcoming her trial and moving forward.

Baking has become a new hobby, she can make a mean cobbler and sweet tea, she is becoming a southerner at heart.

She has been working studiously, helping immensely around the house even learning to cook dinners while I work in the evenings.

Her sense of humor wicked, she makes us laugh with her sharp and witty comebacks. Dr.Who is her new obsession along with Lord of the Rings and Sherlock. She may have a penchant for all things British......

We are so proud of Elizabeth and the young woman she is becoming!

Elizabeth's 10th birthday slideshow for a peek at her growing up.
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Friday, April 25, 2014

Happy Birthday Friend Series: Happy Birthday Anita

A few years ago, I had a private, closed Twitter account where I spent a lot of time talking to two friends. I added a few strangers but mainly just read tweets and conversed with my two friends. Conner and I had started becoming more interested in professional cycling. One morning in May 2011, Conner and I sat in our living room watching The Giro d' Italia sobbing because a rider on our favorite team was killed in a fatal crash on that mornings stage.

While our family and friends around us tolerated our strange hobby, we had nobody to talk with about it but each other. We really knew little about the sport or the community of the sport. We had attempted to make some friends in our area but nobody was friendly. So one day, Conner and I decided to create new Twitter accounts to talk about cycling. So I randomly started an account and started searching for people talking about cycling. About ten people in, I randomly followed, a lady named Anita, I followed her and she followed back. We chit chatted and she immediately tweeted me a list of who to followed.

Random is never really random. I was meant to know Anita and she introduced me to a world of wonderful people. The list of people she gave me transformed into friends and now I would say, they have become a family to our family.

Anita and I have never met. We just chatted cycling and life. Our family was planning to move to Georgia and the south. Then one day, Marty decided he wanted to move to Tennessee. Anita and her family lived in the exact area Marty had chosen to live. I immediately contacted Anita and her family, they really helped assimilate us to the area.

I finally got to meet the famous ''Divas''

We love Anita's family! Her Dad, Jeff aka ''DadBurnett''  has become a best friend and mentor to Conner, and our favorite Twitter Grandpa. Her husband Vic and his family are truly some of the kindest people I have ever met.

When we moved here, Marty was jobless. My first lunch with Anita and her mother in law Jane aka ''my southern hot momma'' she told me the county was hiring in Marty's field. Guess what? Marty got the job, he would have never known about it if Anita hadn't mentioned it.

Anita helped me through a lot of tough stuff this past summer. We don't get to see each other a whole lot even though we live in the same area. We are both busy working moms with families but I know if either of us needed each other, we would be right there.

Loved being there on the day Anita and Vic moved into their new home.

Truly can say, starting a Twitter account to follow cycling brought me some of the best friends who became a family. Thankful for all Anita has done to expand my world unitentionally or not, nothing is random or by chance. I love the way this friend came into my life and changed my world. If we're tweeps, there is probably a chance it is a ''six degrees of Anita B Franklin'' connection.

Love you Anita. Wishing you a happy birthday and a wonderful year filled with happiness and joy!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Blog Tour: My Writing Process

A week ago, my friend Naomi (@woobiesmum on Twitter) asked me if I would take part in a blog tour she was hosting on her blog. You should go read her blog, she is a true writer who has labored hard on her craft.

I agreed since it was different than other blog tours. Writers encouraging each other in their writing process and sharing tips on how they write. I never have and likely never will consider myself a writer, just a girl who babbles on and people humor me by reading along.

Q1: What are you working on? 

Currently, I am working on an outline for my book. In the next few years I plan on writing a few books. My first book is a non fiction account of my Twitter adventures. Everyone is always asking about how I got to do this or that? almost always the answer is, ''It started on Twitter'' so I am going to write a book about it.

Q2: How does my work differ from others of its genre?

Since I write non-fiction, the difference is nobody has lived my life and experiences. My stories are unique because they are my stories. Every writer of non-fiction has a unique story to tell. So every work of non-fiction is different.

Q3: Why do I write what I do?

Writing has always been cathartic for me. As I have documented, I have a super memory that is full of memories, stories, pictures. A giant Rolodex in my brain. So writing helps me get the memories out on paper for the world to see, improves my memory all while  sharing my life story. Really this blog is more for me for some reason, people like to read it?!

Q4:  How does my writing process work?

I write outlines in my mind, almost everything I write starts in my head, outline, blog, pictures are all put together there. Then I sit down and write it out on the blog. Very rarely do I use Word to write a blog. Everything is written on the blog itself. I edit as I write, going back and editing old blogs after they are published. I told you, I am not a writer.

If you're a writer and interested in joining the blog tour, let me or @woobiesmum know on Twitter and we will email you the information.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Growing Kids, Growing Garden

It all started the spring of 2006, after my grandparents dying eight weeks apart, my mom going through a major surgery, I was pretty worn out. When I came home from my extended stay in Whittier, my hometown the kids and I were wading through grief together. Death is hard enough, two deaths together is extremely hard. So one day, I decided that the kids and I would plant a memory garden in honor of my grandparents.

Many don't know, I am only a second generation Californian on one side and a first generation on the other. Three out of my four grandparents were from a small corner of southeast Kansas and my Grandma Brown was from Milwaukee, WI ( that is why my family are Greenbay fans for those who've always wondered)

I decided to plant sunflowers to honor my Grandpa's Kansas heritage and Zinnia's because they are known for attracting butterflies. Once in my grandparents backyard, a butterfly landed on my shoulder as my grandma and I conversed. She told me it was a good luck sign, so butterflies have always reminded me of her since then.

The first year, we amended the soil, tilled our little patch in front of our condo, planted seeds and waited. The first sprout poked through and we were thrilled. We came up with a plan to take a picture each week to watch our garden grow. Elizabeth was five and Conner was seven, so I would make them stand in front of the sunflowers to chart their growth each week. At this time, social media was a blog and Myspace, it became a hit with my ''online friends'' and a tradition to follow for many years.


2007 ( look they are hugging)



Then 2010, Marty was really sick, we just stopped planting the garden. Our lives were just dark and tough, getting throug was the goal. The next year after his transplant, we were traveling so much and didn't have time. One year later found us planning to move so we took this substitute picture at Stanford on the first anniversary of Marty's transplant

Last year we just grew Zinnia's which attracted many butterflies, which we loved.

After a three year hiatus, we've planted our sunflowers again. We always plant the beginning of April and see our blooms around July. Sunflowers and I have become a bit synonymous, my friends always sending me gifts with sunflowers. I wait all year to watch the Tour De France which often goes through the sunflower fields in France, I wait all year for that picture on my television screen. 

A few days ago, I posted a picture of my new budding sunflower. I made the quip that I doubted that I could get my bickering teenagers to pose in front of the plants this year. My friend Andrea balked a that, she said the kids must pose, it is tradition. We shall see how it goes......

For my new friends, I wanted to explain the tradition and story behind the sunflowers. As you all know, everything I do has a story or a meaning behind it. One year, one of our sunflowers grew over 17 feet tall, we called it ''Poppa'' just like Conner called my grandpa.

Now I have a collage on my wall of my growing kids in front of the sunflowers. Truly some of our most precious memories have come from gardening together. I will keep you all posted on the progress of the 2014 Tennessee sunflowers.

 My Favorite picture of my garden